Regional research agronomy project

Page last updated: Monday, 16 January 2023 - 9:02am

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Break crops and pastures

2 people kneeling in wheat stubble llokign for emerging break crops
Esperance regional agronomists inspecting break crop trial for crop emergence, May 2019

The project conducted several trials and activities exploring the success of break crops or pastures and/or their effect on cereal crop productivity:

  • high value pulses trial at Grass Patch near Esperance to investigate the effect on cereal yields through disease and weed control and increased nitrogen availability
  • compilation of 15 case studies of growers' experiences growing faba beans on the south coast
  • investigating effect of legume pastures and serradella on subsequent cereal crops in the northern wheatbelt.


Cover of Growing faba beans publication
DPIRD 2021. Growing faba beans on the south coast of Western Australia 

Crop agronomy and weed management

The agronomy team collaborated with growers, grower groups and researchers to add value to research on frost, integrated weed management, summer weed control and local variety validation, including:

  • collaborating with GRDC frost project DAW00227 in evaluation of frost sensitivity of barley, wheat and oat varieties in relation to sowing date
  • conducting local validation of wheat varieties in the eastern wheatbelt with Merredin and Districts Farm Improvement Group 
  • exploring options for managing matricaria in the eastern wheatbelt
  • continued monitoring of ryegrass management in 27 long-term focus paddocks, work initiated by agronomist Peter Newman in 2000 
  • investigating harvest weed seed management in the Geraldton and Albany port zones where trials were established to assess the efficacy of control methods.
  • implementing summer weed time of removal trials following a widespread summer rainfall event in March 2017.


Addressing soil constraints

Two people crouching in paddock stubble using instrument to measure soil moisture in in a furrow
Measuring soil moisture in inclusion furrow treatment at Kalannie local lime sources trial 

Project participants conducted trials across the grainbelt to manage soil constraints such as acidity, compaction and non-wetting. They tested DPIRD decision- support tools aimed at prioritising soil constraints and assessing the potential benefit of liming on soil pH. Work included:

  • In the Kwinana East port zone, the value of using on-farm lime sources was investigated through a series of small plot trials, large-scale demonstrations, field days, decision-support tools and workshops. Results from the trials and feedback from the workshops were incorporated into DPIRD’s iLime app.
  • assisted in testing the ROSA (Ranking Options for Soil Amelioration) decision support tool 
  • overcoming subsoil constraints on a range of soil types. 


 Trial protocols

The project has compiled useful protocol documents to aid with planning and implementing research trials for people new to agricultural research. Contact Megan Abrahams if you would like a copy.